Menu Close

Easing Stress Through Food

man teaches child how to cook and eat healthy

“Everyone experiences stress, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by everyday events, it could be affecting your wellbeing,” says nutritionist Christine Bailey for Wellness Journal magazine. “Your diet can stop stress from taking over.” Never underestimate what you eat and how it can impact you. Continue reading to learn more about stress and how your diet can impact stress!   Distress vs. Eustress “Contrary to popular belief, we all need some stress in our lives – it’s what gets us up in the morning and keeps us motivated throughout the day,” explains Bailey. What isn’t good is stress that is high-pressure and pervasive. This type of stress is called distress. Distress is negative stress that can harm us if it is present long-term. Stress triggers the release of hormones which begin the fight-or-flight response. This increases our heartbeat and breathing, we begin to sweat, and we may get that pit-in-our-stomach feeling. Once the stressor has been removed, we return to our “normal” state. This process isn’t negative, but it can become negative if you are living in this state constantly. On the contrary is eustress – positive stress. Eustress is what Bailey referred to when she says that stress can motivate us and keep us going. This is not the type of stress we are going to be talking about today. Today, we are going to focus on distress, and how we can solve that through eating habits.    Cut Out the Cravings “One of the first places we notice stress is in our digestive system,” says Bailey. Increases in stress hormones and breathing changes happen, which can “affect the passage of food through our gut, resulting in a range of symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn,” she says. “And when we’re stressed, nourishing our body with nutritious, healthy meals often slides down our priority list, which can worsen these symptoms.” This is why we often want to reach for unhealthy snacks when we are feeling stressed. These cravings seem like a quick fix for what we’re feeling, but it can actually end up making us feel worse in the long run. Instead, we’ve got to learn to make time for healthy eating, no matter how busy we are. This helps to disrupt the stress cycle and create healthy patterns for the long-term.    Eat Healthy, Eat Happy “So, we’re feeling it,” says Bailey. “We’ve got tummy troubles, we’re craving chocolate, sex couldn’t be further from our thoughts and we have a constant stream of anxious thoughts running through our brain. What can we do about stress and its adverse effects?” First, says Bailey, we can identify this stress that we are feeling. This is a great first step for anyone in recovery. Without the awareness of what you are feeling, you’ll be unable to make a change for the better. Identifying the stress helps you make changes to lessen it. This can be in what you eat or even other things as well. Something else you can do is to schedule time for yourself. This can be time to create, read, or even just do absolutely nothing. Plan something that is going to lessen your stress and stick to doing it. Lastly, sleep is something that is necessary if you want to reduce your stress. Sleep helps combat stress, but make sure the sleep you are getting is quality. If you aren’t sleeping well, then you might end up feeling even more stressed. Make sure you’re getting enough quality rest.   

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is somewhere you can go for help if you are struggling with eating healthy during your recovery. We can also help with the other things that we discussed in this article, too. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to hear from you!